Hennepin County Library believes that access to information is a fundamental right and is essential to an informed society. One of the core missions of the public library is to provide equal access to that information, and to make available valuable resources that would help to benefit the communities they serve. Hennepin County Library values the growing diversity in their communities, and agree with the idea that libraries, by their nature, should (and do) have a unique role in advancing racial equity. Therefore they are continuously working to provide welcoming spaces that reflect the diverse populations they serve, and are consciously striving to deliver relevant programming and services that respond to the varied needs of their communities.
But while these are the principles that ground and guide Hennepin County Library’s work, they recognize that there is still more work to do in order to fully ensure that communities of color have equitable access to the resources the library provides. Historically, Hennepin County Library has been a white institution, and they are aware now of how that history has negatively impacted how they serve and engage communities of color. By their commitment and participation in GARE, they can better understand and therefore work to remove any barriers to access. Authentic engagement and collaboration with communities of color will direct programs and services that are relevant and responsive to these communities. They can ensure that their work advances racial equity in the communities they serve.
Hennepin County Library is participating in the 2017 Minnesota Advancing Racial Equity introductory cohort.